Our Father who art in Heaven,
hallowed by thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on Earth as in Heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
and forgive us our tresspasses
as we forgive those who tresspass against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
and deliver us from evil.
(Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory,
now and forever)*
There, isn't it pretty? I have, in my mother's opinion, an irrational attatchment to the old-style Lord's Prayer. And to "Be thou my Vision" (bollocks to people who sing "You be my Vision", i say). It's a great puzzle to Mum, who maintains that she never taught it to me. Which, indeed, is true- she taught me the theologically sound version, ( popular in the Uniting Church )
I assume I picked the thees and thous up from reading old books, or something. Until I started with Anglo-Saxon, I didn't have any particular reason for preffering the old version. I just liked it better. Sounds pretty, has a nice sense of tradition to it.
I just trawled through my backlog to try to find an entry where I'd written up my discoveries about second-person pronouns. However, such an entry is unlocatable. So, in case anyone else out there was incredibly confused by the pronouns in Shakespeare, English pronouns should work something like French, with a singular and a plural/polite.
( Grammatical fun )
Isn't that exciting?
It plays into status differentiation, though. One calls ones equals or inferiors thee and one's superiors you. The Quakers had to bugger off to America for persistently addressing politicians as thee in England.
Now think about the Lord's prayer again. Someone, somewhere- or many ones, everywhere- back in the dim dark past when it became customary to say the prayer in English, thought it was important enough that we have a close, affectionate, perhaps even an "equal" relationship with God, that they used the personal thou form.****** When I make these old words, out of time with the rest of my congregation, it's not that i feel God's so special he deserves better pronouns. God's too big for pronouns. Rather, I say them and I participate in a long tradition of personal, intimate thou-ing relationship with God. I enter into relationship, through the words, not only with the God to whom they are addressed, but with a community of faith which transcends time, space, and common grammar.
*Parts in brackets seem to be a random Protestant addition.
( notes for the grammar fun )
****** this is probably based on something similar in the Latin version, mind. not an english innovation, but a conservation of said important factor.